Sirmaur (Himachal Pradesh) [India], June 7 (ANI): The ‘Grihni kee Gosshala’ initiative in Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur, started to enhance livelihood opportunities through dairy farming in remote villages, has so far benefited hundreds of women.
Aimed to built cowsheds and provide livestock opportunities in rural homes, this initiative covered entire Rajgarh Block covering 33 village panchayats in Sirmaur. Started in August 2021, over 1800 such Gosshalas (cowsheds) have been built under MGNREGA scheme.
Palka Devi, a woman aged 40 from gram panchayat Banat who took benefit under this initiative said she has been earning by selling cow milk and other dairy products for livelihood.
“Earlier I had two cows and after having got the new Cowshed I have increased the number of cows to six. We are a poor family, this dairy business is my family run business, my son goes to school in ten plus one class and he takes milk to market at Rajgarh and now we are getting a good amount of money for survival,” Palka Devi shared her experience.
“These cowsheds built are healthy for our cows as the conventional cow sheds were not good for cattle health. We also grew garlic and a few other cash crops but that was not sufficient for survival. Earlier I used to sell some milk products like ghee. I used to get some amount of money but now we are earning 10,000 to 12,000 rupees only from the sale of milk. We are able to manage expenses of family and children well after the cow sheds were built. These cow sheds have changed our economy and I am looking forward to increasing this business in the near future,” Palka Devi further added.
Similarly, another mid-aged woman Sarla Devi of gram panchayat Bhuria said her income too increased meanwhile.
“This scheme for building cowsheds has encouraged us to focus on dairy farming, I had two cows earlier and now I have four. Daily we sell 10 liters of milk and are earning Rs 13,000 to Rs 14,000 per month. I have two children; I and my husband contribute to this and are earning good for our family. As our income is increasing with this dairy business, I am looking forward to increasing the number of cows, it has changed our financial status,” said Sarla Devi.
The average landholding in Himachal Pradesh is approximately one hectare and farmers tend to diversity to other sources of income for livelihood.
“So far over 1800 such Gosshalas (cowsheds) have been built under MGNREGA, 500 more such ‘Grihni kee Gosshala’ are in progress in 33 Panchayats of Development Block Rajgarh, These cowsheds were designed keeping livestock health and waste management in mind. Nearly 2200 women in the development block have taken advantage of this. It has resulted in increasing the income of the poor rural women of the area,” said Arvind Singh Guleria , The Block Development Officer (BDO), Rajgarh.
“Whenever our team comes in contact with poor ladies, we build such a structure for them so that they can start dairy farming and can be strengthened economically. This initiative has become a milestone for thousands of such poor women. We are trying to cover as much as we can,” said Guleria.
The state government has made provisions in its 2023-24 Budget boost dairy farming and improve milk procurement, processing system and supply chain infrastructures. The state government aims to ensure that milk producers are protected from regional and seasonal price fluctuations of milk and milk products.
Himachal Pradesh has proposed Rs 500 crore spending for a scheme called “Him Ganga”. In the first phase, this scheme will be started on pilot basis. On the basis of results, it will be replicated on a state level. (ANI)